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[Xmca-l] the risks of being a public intellectual
I think it's important to note that the people let go by Columbia were on grant-funded jobs, and so not getting grants should lead to termination. That was the condition of employment. I don't see it affecting those on conventional job tracks that involve security (tenure or its equivalent). People who have tenure and don't get grants in fields that require them might become pariahs, but unless a post-tenure review is in place that may remove them, it's probably not an issue.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Larry Purss
Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2014 5:17 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Alex Kozulin's notion of three planes of understanding
thanks for sending the article on the risks of being a public intellectual.
Anna Sfard also recently posted on who university scholars *address* in their publications.
I have been re-reading Alex Kozulin's book written 25 years ago [Vygotsky's
Psychology: A Biography of Ideas.]
Alex, in the epilogue to that book summed up by positing three trends in Vygotsky scholarship which he called three *planes*.
The 1st plane corresponds to the understanding of Vygotsky's theory by his contemporaries in the 1920's and 1930's.
The 2nd plane emerges with the discovery of Vygotsky's theory in the West in the 1960's .
In 1990 Kozulin perceived the emergence of a 3rd plane of Vygotsky scholarship which is re-evaluating the presuppositions of the 1920's. What in the 1920's appeared to be a straight forward thesis of social mediation, and in the 1960's as a necessary corrective to the individualistic approaches of Western Psychology, in 1990 emerges as a radically new question. The realization that within Vygotsky's theory social AND cultural mediatory mechanisms do NOT coincide.
"The origins and context of Vygotsky's theories are now being seen in a new light; in place of comparisons to Pavlov, the Gestaltists and Piaget comes the context of philosophical hermeneutics and the theory of communicative action. In an even broader sense, what looked like Vygotsky's contribution TO psychology appears now as leading BEYOND psychology or at least BEYOND traditional psychology and into the sphere of human studies BASED on the humanistic, rather than the scientific model." [p. 278-279].
I am not sure how relevant Kozulin's epilogue seems to others 25 years later, but I found the themes in this book very current and relevant. In particular his analysis of Vygotsky's early humanistic writings explored in chapter one on *The Psychology of Art* and chapter two on the theme of Vygotsky's book on the tragedy of Hamlet. These works were written by a young public scholar developing his identity through engaging in the deep questions of life and existence.
How does this relate to Anna and Mike's postings?
The discussion of corporate *money* controlling who gets to be the audience for researcher's articles [Anna Sfard's question] and the question of the role of *public* intellectuals who are addressing humanistic questions and Vygotsky's writings as a humanistic writer seem related to the concept of Kozulin's 3rd plane of engagement BEYOND narrow academic disciplinary discourse.
Will the university as an institution remain a place for these humanistic studies and the type of scholarship which Alex captures in his biography of Vygotsky's ideas, based on the humanistic model?. How central to Vygotsky's later psychological theories were his earlier reflections on art and tragedy?